Tag Archive for 'career'

how is a writing career like Smallville?

No doubt some of you shuddered in horror at the title of this post, but bear with me for a moment.

Last Friday, the series Smallville ended its record-breaking ten year run on the CW. As I prepared to watch the finale with friends this weekend, I reflected on that improbable incredible milestone and realized that it closely parallels a milestone of my own: I’ve been writing for publication for ten years, the entire time that show has been on the air. I wrote, revised, and submitted my first short story–which really wasn’t very short at all, nor publishable–only a few months before Smallville premiered in October of 2001.

And like young Clark Kent, I’ve come a long way since then. Here are some of the strange similarities I came up with:

  • Like Smallville, my stories usually start with unimaginative, single-word titles.
  • Like Clark’s love life, I had to deal with a lot of rejection before my first story was published.
  • I wrote some of my worst stories during the absolute worst year of the show, season 4. And that’s when I considered giving up on both the show and my writing career.
  • But then I graduated from Clarion West, and my writing improved greatly–just like the seasons after Clark graduated from Smallville High.
  • As Clark began to involve himself in a bourgeoning Justice League, I joined my own team of superheroes, the writers in Altered Fluid.
  • I set way too many of my stories in New York City, and far too much happens in Metropolis on the show.
  • In the last year, as Clark finally learned to be Superman, I sold my first novel! (There was even a subplot this season that has some resonance with Fair Coin, but I won’t get into that now.)
  • And… I’ve been planning my own wedding alongside Lois & Clark.

Eerie, isn’t it?

For all the show’s faults, and there were many of them, I’m glad I stuck with it for all these years, just as I stayed on the long road to publication. It’s even possible that the show somehow influenced my own work, since I was always critical of its meandering plot arcs, cliches, and poor dialogue–and hey, I am writing young adult fiction now, so all that high school drama counted for something. To take this post to an even more ludicrous level, the gradual way Clark added to his arsenal of superpowers over the years and learned to control each new ability is similar to the way writers must learn new skills and practice them, always pushing themselves to try new things in their fiction. The only thing keeping us from flying is our own fear of heights.

At the end of Smallville, another phase of Clark’s journey is just beginning, with its own challenges and rewards, and I’m eager to move on to the next stage of my career as I prepare for my first novel to come out. Up, up, and away!

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